Blues

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The blues have had a strong influence on jazz since the very beginning. This is no big surprise since jazz and blues both come from the same African roots. The JR Blues genre at JMA is not meant to be an exhaustive list of every blues artist in the world, we'll leave that formidable task for sites dedicated to the blues.

The JR Blues genre at JMA is for:

1) Artists who play music that is a mix of jazz and blues, such as Jimmy Smith and Robben Ford.

2) Blues artists who were major innovators and trend setters, such as Bessie Smith, Robert Johnson, BB King and Muddy Waters.

3) Artists who were particularly creative within the blues genre such as Taj Mahal, Otis Taylor and Peter Green.

blues top albums

Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

ESTHER PHILLIPS The Country Side Of Esther Phillips (aka Release Me!) Album Cover The Country Side Of Esther Phillips (aka Release Me!)
ESTHER PHILLIPS
4.93 | 2 ratings
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JIMMY SMITH Back at the Chicken Shack Album Cover Back at the Chicken Shack
JIMMY SMITH
4.63 | 14 ratings
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KENNY BURRELL Midnight Blue Album Cover Midnight Blue
KENNY BURRELL
4.57 | 11 ratings
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JIMMY SMITH The Cat Album Cover The Cat
JIMMY SMITH
4.50 | 6 ratings
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KING CURTIS Blues At Montreux  ( with Champion Jack Dupree) Album Cover Blues At Montreux ( with Champion Jack Dupree)
KING CURTIS
4.48 | 3 ratings
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DINAH WASHINGTON Dinah Jams Album Cover Dinah Jams
DINAH WASHINGTON
4.50 | 2 ratings
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DINAH WASHINGTON Swingin' Miss Swingin' Miss "D" (aka Queen & Quincy)
DINAH WASHINGTON
4.50 | 2 ratings
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JIMMY SMITH Jimmy And Wes:The Dynamic Duo Album Cover Jimmy And Wes:The Dynamic Duo
JIMMY SMITH
4.35 | 8 ratings
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FRANKIE LAINE Frankie Laine And The Four Lads Album Cover Frankie Laine And The Four Lads
FRANKIE LAINE
4.40 | 2 ratings
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THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND At Fillmore East Album Cover At Fillmore East
THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND
4.25 | 9 ratings
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JIMMY SMITH A New Sound, a New Star: At the Organ Vol. 2 Album Cover A New Sound, a New Star: At the Organ Vol. 2
JIMMY SMITH
4.25 | 2 ratings
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JIMMY SMITH Bashin' The Unpredictable Jimmy Smith Album Cover Bashin' The Unpredictable Jimmy Smith
JIMMY SMITH
4.15 | 4 ratings
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This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy JMA!

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blues Music Reviews

THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND At Fillmore East

Live album · 1971 · Blues
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js
Those who know the Allman Brothers Band well know that there are two distinctly different versions of the band, the first version with Duane Allman and Berry Oakley, and the second version after Duane and Berry had both died in separate motorcycle accidents. The second version of the band was/is a talented rock band, but no match for the first version of the band. The original Allmans led by brother Duane were an absolute force of nature, one of the most creative and talented groups of their generation. The fact that the early Allmans were called a rock band probably had more to do with their hippy garb and their gigs with other rockers, but listen to the music, there is actually very little rock to be found, instead you will hear plenty of blues in swing time, some jazz fusion, southern RnB, and a touch of country too. Whereas many others in their peer group were following the blues rock of Cream and Hendrix, the Allmans were charting their own hybrid combinations that did not sound like anyone else. Their first two studio albums got some attention, but it wasn’t until they released the incendiary “At Fillmore East” that people began to recognize what this group was capable of. This only makes sense because the Allmans were first and foremost a very live act. These guys knew how to jam and improvise in ways that other groups could only imagine. The Brother’s improvs were not always your typical two chord hippy jam, they often went off on tangents that showed diverse influences from Indian ragas, soul jazz, rock fused bluegrass and creative creations of their own that are hard to define or label.

Side one of “At Fillmore East” opens with a trio of blues numbers, on “Stormy Monday” they show their interest in soul jazz when the band goes into a double time swing while Gregg Allman knocks out a B3 solo in the style of Jimmy McGriff and Jack McDuff. On side two’s “You Don’t Love Me”, the band hits their trademark locomotive groove and now we are on our way. Side three is the jazz side with the lengthy Santana sounding, “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”, taking up much of the side. Side four closes out the album with the hard charging groove of “Whipping Post”, an all-time Allman Brothers favorite. Each of these lengthy jams usually contain side variations and excursions into styles that I can’t describe because they don’t fit any known genre. The whole band was extremely talented, but Duane Allman was one of the most creative guitarists of his generation, possibly topped only by Jimi Hendrix, his fellow super nova who burned so bright for a couple of years and then suddenly left us. If you want to hear the Allman Brothers at their very best, "At Fillmore East" is the one,

MUDDY WATERS Hard Again

Album · 1977 · Blues
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boredop
This late in life release from Muddy Waters is a stone cold classic. The version of Mannish Boy that opens the album is among the great album intros of all time, signaling in no uncertain terms that the master of the blues was back. (It was later used to great effect in the movie Better Off Dead.) This was Muddy's first album with Johnny Winters as producer and lead guitarist, and his production work here makes Muddy sound like he's ten feet tall. The backup band includes Muddy's peer Pinetop Perkins on piano, with the great James Cotton on harmonica, guitar work from Winters and Chicago axe slinger Bob Margolin, and thunderous drumming from Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. Highlights include the aforementioned Mannish Boy, I Want To Be Loved, and Blues Had A Baby And Named It Rock and Roll. Hard Again was one of the great blues albums of the 1970s and ranks among Muddy's very best.

TAJ MAHAL The Natch'l Blues

Album · 1968 · Blues
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Matt
Back in 1973 as a fourteen year old kid I was reading a novel named “The Merry Month Of May” by the author James Jones and throughout the novel one subject that kept being mentioned was they always playin’ The Blues in amongst all those sordid details of an American Family living in Paris throughout the student demonstrations set at the Sorbonne during the late sixties. Asked an older friend if he had any of this Blues music as living in Australia it was primarily Rock And Roll, Folk and Country that I was being fed, albeit I was hearing Blues via The Rolling Stones, Dylan etc but I wanted to hear the real stuff and along came a couple of albums on loan with one being a BB King and this one by Taj Mahal titled “The Natch’l Blues”.

Recorded in 1968 being Taj Mahal’s second release for that year after his self titled debut album that featured Ry Cooder with this having close to the same band with the exception of Ry Cooder and Bill Boatman on Rhythm Guitar with this being primarily a four piece band but we do have the addition of Mr “Like A Rolling Stone” Al Kooper adding piano and Earl Palmer on drums most famously known for his work with Little Richard making appearances as well. One of the interesting points concerning this album is it hard to categorise and it is not Chicago or Soul but having most of its Roots in Folk with a contemporary electric approach which is perhaps when one looks back is the reason for its success and high status that it has garnered over the years due to its difference when recorded during this period in time.

Taj Mahal’s steel guitar is the first thing one hears for the opening number “Good Morning Miss Brown” having that classic 4/4 time in this great mid tempo number with the following “Corrina” bringing a more distinct folk presence to the album but it is not the old classic folk number ‘Corrina Corrina” as this one was penned by Taj with some delightful Harp inserted. It’s a great bounce for “I Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Steal My Jellyroll” with Taj letting fly with some more of that Steal bodied guitar and the following “Going Up To The Country, Paint My Mailbox Blue” has the harp back. Side one closes with the promise “Done Changed My Way Of Living” delivered with a harsh beat for Taj’s roughed up vocals to sing over. Things keep getting better when one flips the record with the delightful and one of the best numbers “She Caught The Katy And Left Me A Mule To Ride” with more of that great bounce and harp instilled with more to follow for “The Cuckoo”. The ballad “You Don’t Miss Your Water ( ‘Til Your Well Runs Dry)” is one of the album’s covers with some great Blues flavour and Brass added for this album standout with the album finishing up with another cover and the rockiest number within “A Lot Of Love”

Classic Blues with its own touch and even though I heard it in my early days I was lucky that this one came along with that loan which I went and bought when I had to return it. As for the James Jones book after I felt like I had to wade through it I was delighted to get back into Harold Robbins and Alistair McClean but it did get me into The Blues.

BUDDY GUY The Blues is Alive and Well

Album · 2018 · Blues
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Matt
Aged 82 and Buddy Guy still doesn’t seem to be slowing down and neither does his approach to his Blues with some great rocking numbers and a few ballads thrown in for good measure on this latest album. Once again Buddy mentions where he originated from in Louisiana being the town of Lettsworth with him standing under the town’s sign for the cover of this latest release “The Blues Is Alive And Well”. Tom Hambridge is back again for the fifth album contributing the majority of the song writing, drumming and even squeezing in the Production. Not only that, as with all his recent albums of course there are guests included comprising Jeff Beck, Keith Richards, James Bay and Mick Jagger contributing to three of the fifteen tracks inserting quite a nice balance and bringing a bit of variety to the album but keeping the other twelve songs just for Buddy which is what we all want to hear anyway with the majority emanating primarily from what seems like his signature today, that polka dot guitar.

“A Few Good Years” is first up with the guitar opening straight up for this ballad with Buddy singing “a few good years is all I need right now” and when one hits 82 I suppose it is not too much to hope for. I’ve always loved his rockers being precisely what “Guilty As Charged” is with the Blues Pedal on and Buddy ripping out his great jagged chords with one great solo inserted. Buddy’s love of “Cognac” features for the next slowed up number with Jeff Beck and Keith Richards also contributing on guitars and Buddy mentioning both of them during the song for this not to be taken too seriously great tune. The title “The Blues Is Alive And Well” is classic Buddy with horns backing Buddy in this great mid tempo number. James Bay is next with Buddy for the rolling “Blues No More” and the only guest to contribute vocals as with Mick Jagger’s contribution in the later Blues ballad “You Did The Crime” it is harmonica only. I hear David Bowie’s “Fame” for the timing of “Whisky For Sale” with the rest of the album comprising a great mix of Rockers and Ballads following up for the remaining seven songs. Special mention goes for the blistering rocker “Ooh Daddy” and the following “End Of The Line” with Buddy singing “I’m the last one to turn out the lights” in the album’s 2nd last song and he may well be right as the last of the Classic Bluesmen.

Of course he will have another Grammy for his mantelpiece with this Production. Great album not a lot new but it is fabulous Blues with no pretensions.

KENNY BURRELL Midnight Blue

Album · 1963 · Blues
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js
In the early 60s, jazz artists cutting a blues album was not an uncommon thing at all. Jimmy Smith, Stanley Turrentine and others put out some of their most successful albums during this time by applying their be-bop chops to some well known blues changes. In early 1963, when Kenny Burrell approached Blue Note head, Alfred Lion, about cutting a blues album, this propisition probably came as no surprise to Lion who was more than happy to let Kenny in the studio to create his blues masterpiece, “Midnight Blue”. The title of this album tells you everything you need to know, this is definitely late night blues with an emphasis on laid back tempos and soulful solos, as opposed to extroverted blazing technique. The band Kenny assembled on here was perfect for the date, with the aforementioned Stanley Turrentine on tenor, Ray Barretto on congas, Major Holley Jr on bass and the understated Bill English on the traps.

Although all of these tracks could be labeled as laid back blues, there is some variety to keep things from becoming too stodgy or predictable. “Wavy Gravy” is notable for being that rare blues tune in waltz time, while other closing and opening tracks on both sides of this record pick up the tempo into a medium swing groove. “Soul Lament” features Kenny on his own, and “Gee Baby ain’t I Good to You” is the only standard, but it too is essentially a blues song. The best thing about this album is its rock solid integrity, drop the needle anywhere you want and you will get the same feeling, no matter the tempo. This is one very sure artistic vision about the blues from start to finish. Even the instrumentation backs up this album’s cohesion, an added piano player would have made things too cluttered, and a B3 player would have made things syrupy and heavy handed, everything is exactly in its place as it ought to be. The addition of Barretto’s subtle conga work is the icing on the cake, as these sort of slow tempos need a little double time action to help keep the groove together.

Although the current ‘vinyl revival’ seems a bit hokey and fabricated by salesmen, its still nice that you can now buy classic jazz records in pristine condition for an almost reasonable price.

blues movie reviews

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Artists with Blues release(s)

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